Hamilton has won pole for the final race of the year, the Abu Dhabi GP 2016. The title deciding race takes place tomorrow with both Rosberg and Hamilton viable for a win, Rosberg only needs to finish third or better to claim the title. The German qualified second today and will start alongside his teammate from the front row. For Hamilton, this was his 12th pole of the year.

Ricciardo made a comeback in Q3 after a rather slow Q1/Q2, finishing third to head the second row tomorrow. Fourth and fifth places went to the Ferrari duo of Raikkonen and Vettel respectively. Verstappen finished sixth and will start on supersoft tires tomorrow, same as Ricciardo while the rest of the top ten starts on ultrasoft.

Abu Dhabi GP 2016 Qualifying Results

1. Hamilton – Mercedes
2. Rosberg – Mercedes
3. Ricciardo – Red Bull
4. Raikkonen – Ferrari
5. Vettel – Ferrari
6. Verstappen – Red Bull
7. Hulkenberg – Force India
8. Perez – Force India
9. Alonso – McLaren
10. Massa – Williams

The Abu Dhabi GP 2016 is indeed a special one especially for Felipe Massa and Jenson Button who will be marking their final F1 races here, as they head into retirement. As for Rosberg, all he needs is a P3 finish or higher to win this year’s title regardless of where Hamilton will finish.

Haas and Toro Rosso were the first to head into Q1, all on ultrasoft tires, other cars soon followed but the big three, Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes were yet to venture out. When the Mercedes went in, Hamilton set a time of 1m39.487s to kick things off with Rosberg slotting in second after coming in short by 1.024s.

Perez landed in third after the first runs, later dropped to fifth when Vettel came in second leading an equally quick Verstappen. Rosberg dropped to fourth after that shake off. The next man to set a quicker lap was Raikkonen who pushed his way into second, the order was changed to Hamilton, Raikkonen, Vettel, Verstappen and Rosberg in the top five.

The top nine cars dived into the pits after getting satisfied with their first times, Ricciardo had an awful first run and his second attempt only managed to place him in 8th.

Eliminated in Q1 were Kvyat, Magnussen, Nasr, Ocon, Sainz and Ericsson while the top ten comprised of Hamilton, Raikkonen, Vettel, Verstappen, Rosberg, Perez, Hulkenberg, Ricciardo, Massa and Button. Most of the front runners used one pair of ultrasoft tires, Valtteri Bottas used supersoft.

Hamilton led the pack into Q2, with Rosberg, Raikkonen and Vettel right behind him, they were all on ultrasoft tires. The Brit kicked things off with a 1m39.382s which was much quicker than last year’s pole time.

“Box, Box, Lewis. Remember, race set.” was the message from the Mercedes garage as Hamilton headed down to the pits after that first stint. The order after the first runs was Hamilton, Rosberg, Raikkonen, Verstappen and Vettel.

Verstappen’s first lap was on supersoft, he headed out for a second run this time on the favored ultrasoft, the Dutchman however aborted the lap despite setting the fastest mid sector time. He will this start on supersofts tomorrow.

Eliminated in Q2 were Bottas, Button, Gutierrez, Grosjean, Palmer and Wehrlein. The top ten after this session comprised of Hamilton, Rosberg, Raikkonen, Verstappen, Vettel, Ricciardo, Hulkenberg, Perez, Massa, Alonso. Both Red Bulls were on supersofts in Q2. Ricciardo did his final Q2 lap on ultrasoft tires but was slower than his SS lap.

Hamilton was highly alert in Q3, he headed out even before the pits opened. Rosberg and Raikkonen followed him moments later. 1m39.013s was the first time on the leaderboard by Hamilton, Rosberg fell short by three tenths but was good for second. Raikkonen settled for third leading Ricciardo, Verstappen and Vettel.

The drivers were out for the second runs led again by Hamilton, Massa was making his first Q3 attempt in this round. Hamilton slayed the timesheets with a much quicker 1m38.755s just about the same time as the chequered flag was flying. Rosberg stayed second after a 1m39.058s lap while Ricciardo managed to beat Raikkonen for third. Verstappen lost fifth to Vettel after running off at turn 11.

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